STATE COLLEGE - Police in riot gear dispersed about 2,000 Penn State students who took to the streets after the ouster of football coach Joe Paterno. Crowds toppled a television news van and at least one photographer was pelted with a rock.
The students flooded downtown State College on Wednesday night for about three hours after Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were fired amid a growing furor linked to their handling of sex abuse allegations against a former assistant football coach.
Officers used pepper spray at times to control the crowd. Some students chanted "We want Joe! We want Joe!" Others kicked in the windows of a toppled news van.
About 100 police officers were downtown, many wearing helmets and carrying pepper spray. State College police said early Thursday they were still gathering information on any possible arrests.
Chaos: Penn State junior Jeremy Feath said he opted to watch the chaos unfold on television at his off-campus home.
Feath, who has many family members who attended Penn State, described the past couple of days as a swirl of emotions for Nittany Lions fans.
First, news of the sex-abuse allegations amid the university's football program surfaced earlier this week, which led to Paterno's announcement Wednesday to retire once he finished out his 46th season as head coach.
Several hours later, the school's board of trustees overturned Paterno's resignation and fired him, effective immediately.
Feath said he expected Paterno to retire at the end of this season.
"I was shocked and bummed out when I saw that they fired him Wednesday night. He wasn't the perpetrator of those accusations," said the engineering student.
Feath said his walk to class Thursday morning gave him an eerie feeling. He said the Penn State campus was very quiet, and it was a "very weird morning."
Ashamed: While one local Penn State student said she'll dearly miss Paterno, she's ashamed of the riots taking place among her peers at Penn State.
Sophomore Maggie Golden, a 2009 graduate of Central York High School, said Paterno should be allowed end his career by coaching one last home game at Beaver Stadium, but accepts the board's decision to fire him.
Golden said most students in Happy Valley are focusing their attention on the victims of the alleged sex-abuse and their families and are not rioting.
"Most of us are in fact studying and sleeping, as Paterno wished," she said.
Standing outside of his home late Wednesday with his wife, Paterno responded to crowds of students chanting "please don't go" by saying: "You guys are great, all of you. Hey look, get a good night's sleep, study. You still have things to do."
- Reporter Lauren Whetzel contributed to this report.